20 November 2016

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance - St. James Santee Brick Church

St. James Santee Brick Church, Wambaw, SC    
Sometimes I found myself in such amazing situations that I have to pinch myself to make sure it is all real. This evening, thanks to my friend English, I was in this lovely historic church in the woods, with windows and doors flung open listening to four talented gentlemen singing to us. How lucky am I?

The group is called The Charlestones and English's brother William Purcell is one of the singers so we felt we had assumed permission to record some of the performance and sneak towards the door near the end to get better shots. I was kicking myself for not bringing my regular camera and had to make do with my cell phone. They were quite amazing and sang everything from early religious music, spirituals, Broadway and country. Thank you!
About the Brick Church at WambawAlthough Wambaw Church stands alone on the old King’s Highway among the pines and oaks of the forest, it was once the center of a busy and prosperous community.  North and south along the Santee River were rice plantations whose Carolina rice became famous all over the world and the prosperity of the planters is reflected in the beauty and proportions of Wambaw Church.  The body of the church was built of brick imported from England, but the columns of   the portico were constructed of local wedge-shaped bricks.  The pews were made of hand-pegged cypress, the flagstone floor has withstood the  ravages of two wars and the vaulted ceiling still retains the original plaster work. 
The building had identical porticos until 1852 when the north one was enclosed to form a vestry room.  The Palladian window on the east marks the original chancel which was moved to its present location after the Civil War. Although the pews were removed at that time, they were not damaged and the church was closed until it could be repaired. 
By 1768 when St. James Santee's Wambaw Church was built, many descendants of the original French refugees had intermarried with English settlers.  St. James Santee, though, has always been closely associated with the Huguenot immigrants who first settled the area and has been known variously as “The French Church” and as the “church of the Huguenots.” 
Now, I suppose it is time for Monday? Grrrr.